Deviney Construction Company, Inc. v. MarbleAnnotate this Case
Cable company employee David Marble was injured when he touched a live electrical wire while attempting to splice a new cable into an old one. He brought suit against Deviney Construction Company, Inc. (Deviney), alleging that Deviney negligently dug up the electrical wire and failed to secure it. Before trial, the trial judge ruled that witnesses could only be called once. Deviney objected, arguing that the defense should not be “handcuffed” and should be able to call its witnesses in its own case-in-chief. Mr. Marble ultimately called fourteen witnesses in his case, including two of Deviney’s fact witnesses. During trial, Deviney renewed its objection to the trial judge’s ruling, but the trial judge affirmed her earlier ruling. Mr. Marble would win a $2.5 million verdict against Deviney. Deviney appealed the verdict, arguing among other things, that the trial judge’s ruling on the presentation of witnesses constituted reversible error. The Supreme Court agreed that “a court has broad discretion . . . to manage the pace of a trial by placing ‘reasonable’ limits” on the presentation of evidence but found that the trial judge “unduly” interfered with Deviney’s presentation of its case. The Court reversed the trial court’s decision, and remanded the case for a new trial.